Category Archives: Electricity for Mane Sherpa

Communication is the KEY!


I just got the most heart warming email from Katie (Mani’s English tutor for a time last year).

I just wanted you to know that I got a text message from mane and it brought tears to my eyes. It was entirely in English, thanking you for the lessons and me for getting him started before I left. He is doing well- still at Dawa’s house (which, if you ask me, is a wonderful place to be). Anyway, you should know that you did a wonderful thing, setting him up for English lessons, that will go a very long way for him, particularly as a trekking guide. I’m sure you already knew that. Hope all is well with you. I am just dreaming of Nepal as always and hoping I get to go back! All the best,

Katie

Sent from my iPhone

So it is satisfying to know, that all of you have contributed to his enrichment so much!

WE SAID “LET THERE BE LIGHT”….AND THERE WAS LIGHT!


iPad 039

Our Sherpas

A year ago this week, I was making my final preparations to depart on the most epic adventure of my lifetime. I was excited and scared all at the same time, but two years of preparations were going to come down to what would happen when my plane touched down in Kahtmandu. You can read about the daily adnventures of the trip on all the previous blog posts, but one of the chapters is just finishing up, all these months later.

One night after a long day of trekking, we were just finishing our evening. The stove in the center of the room had at last been lit, and we were regaining much wanted warmth from the yak dung fire. Our Mountain Madness staff all came in…the porters, the kitchen staff, the sherpas and the yak herders. Each one of them assembled with us, all smiling at us even after they had worked a long hard day in addition to the trek in order to make our trip comfortable. Deana Zebaldo, our Guide, interpreted while each one of them introduced himself to us, told about his job responsibilities on the trek and then a little personal information. It was mezmerizing to hear these men speak of their lives in Nepal and their families. Most were farmers the bulk of the year, but worked in the trekking industry to try to get a leg up for their families. Getting a leg up meant taking an English class, getting more lumber for the building of your home, or paying for school for your children.

I was a slow trekker. Real slow. As a result, I was the last in my group and therefore always had a sherpa with me. Most days that Sherpa was Mane. a 24 year old man who was unmarried and lived in a house three days trek out of Lukla. He told us that one of the reasons he was working as a sherpa was because he was a member ofhe Untouchable caste. Because of this, when the power company was running power into his village, his family along with five other familes, were left out. However, due to changeing attitudes in the region, they can now get the power company to bring the power in, but it would be costly for them. At the time I heard this, I thought it was awful and figured it was simply cost prohibitive. I asked Deana how much it was going to take for them to get the power put in. She told me she would find out. I figured it was a massive amount of money. Not knowing much about the existing infrastructer, and knowing that anything that was going to be brought in to the village was going to have to be flown in to Lukla and then walked by porter for three days into his village, it was not going to be cheep.

A couple of more days passed with me bringing up the rear of the group. Each day, Mane was there with me, carrying my pack, stopping me to eat and drink…and always smiling.

Mane Sherpa dn I at Base Camp

Mane Sherpa and Karen A. Whelan at Base Camp

Finally, Deana was able to determine how much Mane and the other villagers were going to have to come up with to get the power in. It was around $2,600 dollars…not much more than my plane ticket for the trek. But for him and the others, it was a huge amount of money. It wasn’t something they would be able to do that year…it was going to take several years to save up the money. And with the corruption in Nepal, the price would change as they got involved in the process.

On April 8, 2012, Mane delivered me safely to Mt. Everest Base Camp at 17,800 feet above sea level. I had fulfiled my goal and my dream. I would leave base camp rather abruptly, so the picture above is one of my last moments with Mane. Though I have never seen or spoken directly to him since, I feel like he is an adopted son. I began to think more and more of his lack of electricity and when I got home, many of the people following my trek expressed their gratitude and admiration for Mane too. I started a fund and within about a month, over 40 people contributed to his getting power. The outpouring was humbling. We got all the money together and wired it to Dawa, the Big Boss Sherpa who was also with us on the trek and who would walk three days to Mane’s village to get things started. He would also have to walk three days home and stay two nights each way in a tea house. That is life in the himalayas.

Back home in the USA we were all waiting with baited anticipation to see the final product. The Monsoon Season was long and rainy, so we waited. But then we heard that Mane was heading the project up and that it was underway! So we waited. Then we heard that the internet cafe was closed in Lukla and there was no service to get pictures out. So we waited. (There is no postal service in the Himalayas, it is all hand carried.)

Then I heard from Sagar through Deana. Sagar is the man who takes care of all the Mountain Mandess personel in Nepal. He also took good care of me in Kahtmandu after my evacuation. He sent the long awaited pictures of the lights burning bright in Mane’s house! And as the trekking season begins, Mane’s family is at home without him, with lights to sit in the evening and enjoy each other’s company. I will leave you with the pictures and the thought that how something that looks so easy and simple and small has changed 6 families lives high in the Himalayas of Nepal.

mane5 Mane1 mane2 mane4 mane7 mane6 mane3

Let’s Get Powered UP!


I am so thankful to the over 37 donors and enumerable supporters of the project to get Mane and the other families electrical power to their portion of the village in Nepal.  The trek to Everest was all about me and my goals and my dreams. But along the way, I got to see a broader perspective. The people of Nepal, though it sounds trite, really were engaging and uplifting. And none more than the mountain peoples that we encountered and those who worked for Mountain Madness as porters, cooks, guides and Sherpa to support our dream of going to Mount Everest Base Camp.  I have spoken a lot about Mane and all he did for me along the trail. He has a good life. Just much harder than anything we encounter here with our standard of living. I am not talking about poverty when I talk about Mane. I am talking about a life in a remote region where the terrain and the resources equate to no roads or vehicles. Not many good paying jobs. Not much in the way of running water or electricity. No grocery stores or drive throughs. Every place you go you do it on foot or a horse if you have one. remember, they have to eat too. What they can raise to eat, they do. They farm and the men go off to

A Woman’s Work is Never Done

porter, be sherpas or guides and the woman care for the children. Though they are just as hardy, portering everything they need in baskets held by their foreheads.

Kate is staying at Dawa’s house. She is my English speaking contact for the facilitation of the Electrical Power Project. She is also helping Mane learn English as he is also staying at Dawa’s in Lukla right now. It is a three day walk from Dawa’s to Mane’s village. Dawa lives at about 9,300 feet of elevation and Mane’s village, also in the Solokhumbu region of Nepal, is somewhere between 6,000 feet and 9,000 feet. It is difficult to find any data on the internet to tell me just how high it is.

Of the 35,000 Sherpa that live in Nepal, about 5,000 of them live in the Solokhumbu. The name of the village is Khoriya (खोरिया).  The village is small and has power to most of it. Soon, with the assistance of all of those who have come together to assist, Mane and the remaining 5 families will also have power. It will change their lives and make some things much easier.

As this project is heating up and I am in almost daily communication with Kate, I am also going to be helping Mane and Dawa with their English classes. English is a ticket to better jobs, more responsibility and as a result, a better standard of living for their families. For what amounts to a few cups of coffee a month, these guys will have access to the tools they need to make better lives for themselves. Kate tells

Truckers of the Himalayas. If it gets to a village, it was brought in like this!

me that Mane is one of the hardest working people she has seen At most everything he does. Yesterday she reported that he spent two hours after work studying and working on his English and wanted to do more! He is so excited about what we are doing. Thanks to everyone! I will report back with more news when it is available!

Mane Power Fund Raising WELL Under Way


Because of all of you, this house of Mane’s will have power!

Last weekend I launched the fund raising project for Mane, my Sherpa in Nepal. I thought it would be a long schlog to raise $2,500.00 for the project. But it was crazy! Money began pouring in almost from the instant the fund raising began. 7 days later, we are at $2,045.00 with another $295.00 pledged! I know we will move the hearts of the people to finalize the rest of the needed cash. We have already had 34 contributors from all over the US and Australia!

I am in contact with people both home an abroad to ensure that the project, once the money is here, goes well and that the donations received are used in the way in which they were intended. I am personally working with groups here and in Nepal to be knowledgeable and helpful to make this happen.  But things are slower in these remote parts of the world for myriad reasons. Lots of difficult terrain and no transportation in the area beyond yaks and porters individually hauling things. To get from Lukla to Mane’s village is a three day walk. I am just starting the process of learning what will take place and will blog it all to keep you informed of the progress of your kind assistance.

Please Help Me Help Mane Sherpa Get Elecricity


He was ALWAYS Smiling!

His name is Man Bahadur Bisworkarma. We call him Mani or Mane. He has worked this trekking season as a Sherpa for Mountain Madness, a trekking company out of Seattle. He lives in a village called Khorya in the Solokhumbu District of Nepal. I met him in Lukla when he was introduced to us among the other Sherpa that would be assisting us on our Everest Base Camp Trek.

One night we had the opportunity to spend time with the entire Mountain Madness staff. They introduced themselves and told us bits about their lives. By this time I had spent a lot of time with Mane. From the second day of the trek on, he assisted me to get to base camp. Carrying my pack. Encouraging me and always smiling that big smile. During this time of getting to know the staff, we learned that Mane is a member of a caste. That Caste is The Untouchables. Wikipedia tells us this about the Untouchables:

The Harijans or untouchables, the people outside the caste system, traditionally had the lowest social status. The untouchables lived in the periphery of the society, and handled what were seen as unpleasant or polluting jobs. They suffered from social segregation and restrictions, in addition to being poor generally. They were not allowed to worship in temples with others, nor draw water from the same wells as others. Persons of other castes would not interact with them. If somehow a member of another caste came into physical or social contact with an untouchable, he was defiled and had to bathe thoroughly to purge himself of the contagion. Social discrimination developed even among the untouchables; sub-castes among them, such as the Dhobi would not interact with lower-order Bhangis, who handled night-soil and were described as “outcastes even among outcastes.”

As a result, his family and five others were not included in receiving electrical power when power was brought to his village of Khorya.

The whole group at Base Camp

Social norms are changing some in the region and now he and other untouchables are getting better treatment. But there are harsh consequences to having been shunned so long. One is that he and the other families would have to pay a premium to get the power company to bring them power now that it has already been brought to the village. In order to get it there will cost what is insurmountable for poor Nepalis villagers who are not educated and still struggle in the work force to get jobs.

He kept me safe in all weather

Mane was with me every step of my trek. One day I tripped and as I was falling, he dove to catch me. Another he kept stopping me to get me to try to eat and drink. He smiled all the time and tried hard to speak as much English as he could to me. Those were longer days for him than any of the others because once I did get to our destination, he still had to jump in and assist with serving us our meals. He never got the afternoon rest and tea the others did because he was with me. Keeping me safe and walking.

Mane is a hard worker in a place where there is no shortage of hard work for low pay. We enjoy so much here and it is easy to take that for granted. He will go home at the end of trekking season and work the rest of the year trying to farm a few crops on his land, though there had been a difficult time over the last years getting much to grow. He will try to have enough money to go to Kathmandu and take an English course so that he will be able to advance in his Sherpa work. You see, he speaks very little English. In order to advance he will have to improve his English skills. That costs money.

Because of all Mani did for me, I would like to try to see what I can do to help him. We have had hard years here in the US with the economy as well. But If you have anything extra and are of a mind to help Mani and the other 5 families get the electricity they need just to do the basics, please consider donating. I have set up a donation site and anyone who wishes to donate can do so easily with just a

Mani was there clear up until I left in the Helicopter.

click. It is a secure site. Once we have the money in, it will go directly to Nepal so that the installation of the power to the Untouchables can be achieved. They will be more like the others in the village and will do the things we take for granted after dark…perhaps read, or stay up and talk without burning fuel for a light. The Donor page is right here.

Here is a picture of Mane’s house:

20120529-184447.jpg
Here is Mane’s sister in law:

20120529-184548.jpg
And here is the portion of his village that already has power:

20120529-184727.jpg

The Camino Provides

Celebrating the Camino de Santiago and the pilgrim's journey

sagegirl51

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

The Greenery

Ideas That Grow

Pilgrim Strong

Rewriting My Story on the Way of St. James

2 Sisters Wandering

Our Pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago

Grammarphobia

Grammar, etymology, usage, and more, brought to you by Patricia T. O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman

chixhike

A place to share experiences, encourage and support one another.

Astrolabe Sailing

Sailing, yachts, adventure and sailing around the world!

Saharasarah's Blog

Just another WordPress.com site

Adventures Of Two

current location: Durango, CO

Mountains for Breakfast

Misadventures in Backpacking

Willis Island Walking

The story of a completed walk for charity around a desert island in the Coral Sea

Trek Ontario

Hike | Camp | Canoe | Snowshoe | Geocache | ...

Tammie Painter

Novel Writer, Colored Pencil Artist, Honeybee Wrangler

gigi-hawaii

Aloha and mahalo for stopping by.

WhelanTrek

Converting dreams to reality one hike at a time!

elytoeverest

Just another WordPress.com site

Treat House Vacation Rental in Seattle (Ballard)

Ballard (Seattle) Neighborhood Vacation Rental (206)255-9770 tel.

Don Charisma

because anything is possible with Charisma